Review Roundup: Making the Grade, Custody and Western

Three new films are on release from Friday April 13th.

Making the Grade is Irish director Ken Wardrop’s follow-up to His & Hers and Mom and Me, a charming documentary which follows a selection of students as they go through the eight grades of piano lessons in Ireland.

Custody is the first feature from actor Xavier Legrand, and is an incredibly tense drama examining the fallout between parents wrestling for control of their 11 year old son.

Western is an intimate study of masculinity in the combative climes of a Bulgarian building site where the locals tussle with immigrant German workers.

Read on for a selection of reviews, and pop in to make up your own mind!

MAKING THE GRADE
“Reserves a nice spot alongside Être et Avoir and Monsieur Lazhar as one the great, affecting films about teaching”
4/5 – Irish Times

“A pure and gentle delight”
4/5 – RTE

“Whatever their reasons for playing the piano and working through the grades, the documentary catches all of the experience without judgement and with humour, laughter and passion”
4/5 – Entertainment.ie

“Making the Grade is a wonderful film about music, and more importantly the importance of art to the human spirit”
4/5 – Scannain

CUSTODY
“The result is a film that addresses the worst manifestations of toxic masculinity within the context of a hurtling drama that never allows attention to wander.”
5/5 – Irish Times

“The focus is on one single horrible situation, getting steadily and unwatchably worse: a simmering pot of rage and toxic masculinity under which the gas-ring gets turned up and up”
4/5 – Guardian

“As a demonstration of slighted masculinity being given an inch, taking a mile, and chewing it up with breakneck fury, the film could hardly be more timely or disconcerting”
5/5 – Telegraph

“A father-son drama for anyone who finds There Will Be Blood too cosy in its depiction of paternal love”
4/5 – Time Out

“Legrand operates in the raw social realist tradition of such auteurs as Maurice Pialat and the Dardenne brothers, stripping away sentimentality in favor of direct, observational filmmaking”
Variety

WESTERN
“One of the films of the year has arrived – maybe the best of the year – a work of unmatched subtlety, complexity and artistry”
5/5 – Guardian

“Grisebach has an observational grasp of the male psyche – especially its pathological obsession with pride – that fairly takes the breath away”
5/5 – Telegraph

“A naturalistic, almost documentary-like feature that slowly builds”
Hollywood Reporter

“There are no stagecoaches or six-shooters in this sharp, simmering drama of German-Bulgarian discord, but the spirit of John Ford graces it”
Variety

“A culture clash defined by an incredibly strong first-time performance, it’s continually more emotionally surprising than its dry packaging lets on”
Vulture

 

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